Safe Schools organized a student conference on October 14, 2022 at St. Anselm’s College that connected students from across New Hampshire to share their stories and ideas on teen mental health, cyberbullying, school shootings and student leadership. It was, we are told, the first student-run conference on these topics in the country.
All the speakers were students. A conference leadership team, made up of seven seniors from four NH high schools, planned and ran the conference. We focused on mental health, bullying and school shootings because they are interrelated and because students have deep interest, lived experience or expertise in them.
The conference was a forum for student voices, fresh thinking and action. It identified innovative and practical ideas from across the country – ideas that students can implement. It also built a bridge from the conference to the schools – to turn ideas into action and help students start initiatives in their schools. A mini-documentary film is being made of the conference.
On April 14, 2023 we held another student-run conference in Nashua, NH with high schools in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and Maine (by livestream). This conference focused on a “how-to” for launching new initiatives in schools. All the speakers have successfully launched a new program in their school. Our goal is to improve the odds of success for future student leaders.
We want to change the way schools think about school safety. It starts with the students.